We’ve been working on a more explicit anti-oppressive music strategy for our dances. We’ve had a number of failures in regard to having fantastic, safe and anti-oppressive music, so we need to do something different. So far this is where we’re at.
We want to prioritize safety and anti-oppression within the art of DJing. We want these to matter more than they do within the traditional craft. Not every song, for example, needs to be explicitly anti-oppressive. But we don’t want to simply duplicate the all-too-common intersecting oppressions of the music choices in the mainstream bar scene.
This has two parts. The first is that we want to be more proactive to try, as much as possible, to prevent these failures from happening. We want to work with DJs who get it, and who are experienced at this, and who we have a relationship with. And we also want to work with DJs who are interested in negotiating play lists, and are cautious about taking requests. And we want to hear from DJs how we can support them.
The second part is that we want to respond very quickly when a song is played that doesn’t meet the priorities of safety and anti-oppression. We want it to be easy for audience members to ask volunteers to change a song. And in the future when someone asks a volunteer to turn off a song because it is uncomfortable, inappropriate, or triggering, it will happen right away. This means awkward song transitions will be ok, and even silence will be ok. Safer spaces people will remain ready to provide support and aftercare.
Essentially, we want to play great songs. And when we mess that up, we want to make it easy for audience members to get a song changed.
We’re not entirely sure what all of this will look like in practice. So if you have ideas about any of this, please let us know.
— Homospun collective